The high court in West Virginia has refused to vacate legislation that placed a cap on damages for non-economic loss in medical negligence cases.
In McDonald v. City Hospital, Inc., No. 35543 (W.Va. 6/22/2011) the court ruled that the West Virginia Constitution did not limit the power of the Legislature to impose arbitrary limits on damages.
Here are the provisions of the West Virginia Constitution that were at issue in the case:
Article III, Section 13 of the Constitution of West Virginia provides, in pertinentpart:In suits at common law, . . . the right of trial by jury, if requiredby either party, shall be preserved. . . . No fact tried by a juryshall be otherwise reexamined in any case than according to therule of court or law.Article V, Section 1 of the West Virginia Constitution states:The legislative, executive and judicial departments shall beseparate and distinct, so that neither shall exercise the powerproperly belonging to either of the others; nor shall any personexercise the powers of more than one of them at the same time,except that justices of the peace shall be eligible to thelegislature